Imran calls for inclusion of polio issue in peace talks agenda

Published: March 12, 2014
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An Express News screengrab of the press conference.

An Express News screengrab of the press conference.

An Express News screengrab of the press conference. Express News screengrab of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan on Wednesday said eradication of polio from Pakistan should be made part of peace talks agenda, Express News reported.

During a press conference in Islamabad along with World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Magaret Chan, Imran said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government was focusing more on Peshawar than the rest of the province because the city has a higher incidence of polio.

“Most of the cases from the province are from Peshawar; the virus was found in the city’s sewerage system,” he said, adding that the provincial government – after making Peshawar polio-free – will move to other areas as well.

The WHO had declared Peshawar the largest reservoir of endemic poliovirus in the world, with more than 90% of the current polio cases in the country genetically linked to the city.

Responding to a question regarding transparency of the vaccination campaign, Imran stressed that the provincial government was just providing resources such as health workers, police and transport, and the money was handled by various donors.

Federal government

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the WHO director general  that he has called a meeting with all four chief ministers to discuss a strategy to eradicate polio from the country.

The premier said that sacrifices made by polio workers will not go to waste, adding that the government’s plans will be implemented to ensure that the disease was eradicated completely.

Nawaz said that attacks on polio workers will not affect government’s resolve against the crippling virus.

Polio workers and those protecting them are targeted in many attacks throughout the country. On March 11, two police constables providing protection to polio teams were killed in Dera Ismail Khan.

Militant groups see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage, and there are also long-running rumours about polio drops causing infertility.

According to the World Health Organisation, Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Wali
    Mar 12, 2014 - 12:11PM

    Mr. PM, such rhetoric means nothing until you can show for practical measures. The responsibility for the loss of every single polio worker lies with the government – it has happened day after day all over the country and we haven’t seen any protection, legislation or other help that shows “sacrifices of the polio workers will not go to waste”.

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  • qasim
    Mar 12, 2014 - 12:24PM

    Sacrifices of 50 thousands have gone waste, mr prime minister.
    You are talking to the murderers. Forget about the deaths of polio workers, we can wait till a leader comes to lead us and take descisions for us. For the time being we will tolerate the petty politicians and their self centered policies.Recommend

  • Mar 12, 2014 - 12:40PM

    Something that should never be forgotten.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 12, 2014 - 12:56PM

    Hard to believe him.

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  • Hassan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 1:07PM

    Finally he has woken up after 10 months in government, 95 polio cases (most of those in FATA, which is under his direct control), six rounds of ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ and many lives of the volunteers, healthworkers and Police officers to jump on the band wagon.

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  • zaffar
    Mar 12, 2014 - 1:56PM

    This man is xceptionl. Everyone else just plaigeris his ideas.

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  • Rasikh
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:04PM

    While IK can think out of the box and try provide solutions, the rest rely on rhetoric only, such as “attacks on polio workers will not affect government’s resolve against the crippling virus”! After all said and done, the real criticism on IK from all corners boils down to the question that why does he focus on providing solutions rather than relying on rhetoric only like others.

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  • roadkashehzada
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:08PM

    Finally one sensible suggestion from IK. he is shahid afridi of politics

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  • Okie Dokie
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:13PM

    Oh, I thought he had views like those of the Taliban.

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  • Afroz
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:23PM

    IK at its best in visionary thinking. Actions speaks louder than words.

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  • MAD
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:26PM

    @Hassan: FATA is administered by teh Federal Government. The F stands for Federal and teh A for Administered. KP has no say in FATA affairs.

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  • S!D
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:35PM

    And who could have thought like this!

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  • Lobster
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:35PM

    @Hassan:
    FATA is under direct control of KPK? Amazing level of knowledge bro!
    Just for info, FATA stands for “Federally Administered Tribal Areas” and not surprisingly comes under Federal gov jurisdiction.

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  • Tight Patloon
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:16PM

    Polio drops are unislamic and is a Zionist conspiracy to make Muslim children infertile

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  • Ali Khan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:23PM

    @Hassan:

    Feeling sorry for those who recommended Hassan’s Comments :)

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  • usman
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:45PM

    Guys @Hassan is clearly referring to Nawaz Sharif and not IKRecommend

  • Tani
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:50PM

    Don’t men go to mosques at least once a week? If m not wrong? Why not issue a fatwa in favour of polio drops.. and make all men aware to get their children to vaccinated?

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  • Hassan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:51PM

    @MAD and Lobster

    My comments were in reference to Nawaz Sharif’s recent move on Polio. He didn’t do any thing on this front for 10 months, now he just wants the glory after initial success of ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ in KP.
    KP government should be commended for its efforts despite all the odds.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 12, 2014 - 11:00PM

    To stop the killing of polio teams should have been one of the first demands of the peace process……..anyway bette late than never.

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